With 86% of kids ages 6-10 using a computer and 75% online, the Internet and virtual worlds are today’s new playground. As kids adopt digital play faster than ever before, parents are looking for ways to establish rules for playing online. To bridge the gap between parents and kids and provide parents with information and controls, BarbieGirls.com – one of the fastest growing virtual worlds for kids with 14 million registered users worldwide –introduces “Parents’ Place.”  “Parents’ Place” is a parent-directed area on BarbieGirls.com that is built off a principle of Educate, Empower and Engage. The site will feature several tools to EDUCATE parents about online play and safety, EMPOWER parents with settings and controls appropriate for their children’s play online, and ENGAGE parents and kids in a dialogue about safe and appropriate online play. One of the featured tools on “Parents’ Place” is the “B Smart Pact,” an interactive activity for parents and kids to do together, posing a series of questions and scenarios to guide them through a conversation about protecting one’s privacy online, chatting safely, online etiquette/being nice, and length of time spent playing online. The B Smart Pact is also customizable, allowing parents to input individual rewards and consequences for rules, as well as write their own personal family rules (e.g. homework must be done before computer play.) Finally, the B Smart Pact is printable so families can print and post near the computer.  “Since its launch as the first-ever global virtual world introduced exclusively for girls, BarbieGirls.com leads in delivering safe and fun experiences for kids, and now leads in offering an unparalleled experience for parents,” said Chuck Scothon, general manager and SVP, Girls Division, Mattel Brands. “Online content is today’s new toy, and we believe it is vital to inform and equip parents with the tools and information they need to become familiar with the new online playground. We want parents to be supportive of where and how their child plays, particularly as BarbieGirls.com has recently moved to a subscription model.”

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